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5.0 out of 5 starspretty good
Reviewed in the United States on January 7, 2013
I got this out of curiosity mostly, and I do love reading about Tudor England. It was a good story, very intriguing, but I would've liked a good execution in the end for the villain.
5.0 out of 5 starsThe Thorne Maze: An Elizabeth I Mystery
Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2012
I have been reading about The Tudors for years and became interested with a mystery involving Elizabeth. It She was always a strong women and they used this in the mystery story. Loved the characters and how it made you continue guessing till the end.
Forget the improbability of Elizabeth I and William Cecil (Elizabeth's chief advisor) actually having the time and inclination to play detective, and surrender yourself to enjoying a historical mystery novel is packed with intrigue, suspense and wonderful historical detail, for "The Thorne Maze" is definitely not a treat to be missed! It's the summer of 1564, and in order to escape the threat of the plague, Elizabeth has moved her court (which currently also includes Templar Sutton, a famed lawyer, and his half-Italian wife, Bettina; Mary Sidney, the Countess of Pembrooke and the queen's closest friend and Robert Dudley, a gentleman that Elizabeth is drawn to even if she doesn't totally trust him) to Hampton. Of course there a variety of entertainments to amuse and pass the time, but when Elizabeth uses the cover of a masque to slip out in order to meet Dudley, little does she expect to be attacked either. Fortunately, the arrival of Bettina Sutton on the scene stops the attacker from completing his attack. Elizabeth quickly summons her Privy Plot Council in order to ferret out the would-be murderer. But are they looking for a 'plain' murderer who had mistaken the queen for someone else, or are they in the middle of yet another treasonous plot? Before long, Elizabeth and investigators are in the middle of another perplexing mystery, and one that yields some unexpected suspects... What made this novel so very enjoyable for me to read was the manner in which the authour managed to keep the level of suspense relatively high. The pacing was truly brilliant. There were enough red herring suspects together with some rather nifty plot twists -- enough anyway to keep to me engrossed. And, best of all, there was also enough historical and biographical detail to make the book interesting and fascinating. All in all, "The Thorne Maze" proved to be a truly worthwhile read. And although I'm not a Tudor fan and that I rather wished that Karen Harper had been a tad more critical of Elizabeth I, I have to admit that "The Thorne Maze" was a truly good mystery novel and that the entire series is worth becoming addicted to.
With plague in London, Queen Elizabeth I and her retinue move to Hampton Court one of her favorite residences. There is a maze on the property that everyone admires especially Sir William Cecil's mentor Templar Sutton. One night after a play is performed; the queen sneaks away to the opening of the maze where she has arranged to meet her admirer Robert Dudley. Before that rendezvous can take place, someone lays hands on the queen, a treasonous offense touching the monarch, but worse still tries to strangle her highness before escaping into the maze. When the maze is searched, nobody is there and Robert tells her he received a note stating she changed their meeting place to the stables. Determined to get to the bottom of this she reconvenes the Privy Plot Council consisting of trusted servants and Sir Cecil. When Templar Sutton is found in the maze, the obvious victim of a murderer, Elizabeth is determined to find the killer. When the plague moves towards Hampton Court, the queen and her court retires to Hatfield Manor where she intends to bait a killer with a trap he can't resist. THE THORNE MAZE gives an insightful look into the mindset of Queen Elizabeth I during the sixth year during of her reign. History comes alive in this book as historical personages act true to character in their relationship to their queen. The mystery is interestingly plotted with so many suspects that readers will have a jolly good time trying to figure out the identity of the villain. Karen Harper is the grandmistress of the Elizabethan mystery. Harriet Klausner
The Thorne Maze is the fifth in Karen Harper's Elizabethan mystery series, and one of the best. The series had a rather slow start, with a really interesting concept - the first Queen Elizabeth and a small band of loyal friends solving mysteries - but initially rather forgettable characters. Now the writer has hit her stride and the characters are much more believable and the dialogue both truer and livelier. With each new book the characters have developed depth and have moved in a natural life progression. The setting is as accurate as it can be 500 years later (and I'm from England, I can spot an American writers' innaccuracies right away). Most of all, it's a tale well told. I can see the writer's difficulty. She strives to include historical characters, locations, time frames and still come up with a strong and workable plot. To be honest, there are times when the plot is a bit contrived, in the effort to include all the other elements. Personally, I can accept this. I'd rather have the accuracy and the depth of research. And this writer is a great story teller, she is working with a fascinating period in history and she has peopled it with, by now, strong and likeable characters. This is a good read. I can recommend this book to anyone who likes history and mystery.
Reviewed in the United States on September 30, 2003
Having discovered this series in its most recent form, (the next one, which is THE QUEENE'S CHRISTMAS) I am working my way backwards through them. This one is another treat; in fact, I read it in one long evening. Yes, it is improbable that QE1 had the time to solve mysteries, but not for a minute do I believe she couldn't have, had she felt inclined to do so! The author makes the dialog and setting believable, too, something not often achieved with the historical mystery.